Fifth national park on the anvil in J-K
16 November 2007
The Indian Express
Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir will soon get its fifth national park. A proposal has been moved before the state Cabinet for a nod, which will increase the number of national parks in the state to five. Official sources revealed on Friday that the new national park, which will be known as the Qazinag National Park, will come up close to the Line of Control (LoC) near Uri in Baramulla. The move will pave a way for the conservation of critically endangered Markhor goat, listed under the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), among other highly endangered wild species in the region. The park will be set up by the State Wildlife Department in collaboration with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the World Wildlife Organisation. Sources revealed that the park, which is likely to be the state’s largest national park, will be constituted of two prominent wildlife sanctuaries — Limber Wildlife Sanctuary and the Lachipora Wildlife Sanctuary, besides the Narinag Conservation Reserve. The Qazinag National Park will be the fifth national park in the state after Kishtwar National Park in Jammu region, Hemis High Altitude National Park Leh in Ladakh region, and the City Forest National Park and Dachigam National Park, both close to Srinagar. Official sources said a notification regarding the setting of the new park will be taken up shortly by the state Cabinet. However, official sources pointed out that the area on which the Qazinag National Park is to be developed, is yet to be decided by the state Government. Sources also pointed out that the proposal of the park has been sent to the state Government’s Law department for a legal opinion besides the resettlement of nearly 30 human settlements located inside the two wildlife sanctuaries on which the Qazinag National Park is likely to come up. Nearly 15,000 people are living in these hamlets. Apart from the Markhor goat, the park will be home to several other endangered wild species, including musk deer, Asiatic Black Bear and Brown Bear. State Chief Wildlife Warden A K Srivastava pointed out that protection of the Markhor goat has gained momentum, of late, in the wake of the clearance to the opening of the Mughal Road passing through the wildlife areas inhabited by the Markhors. The Supreme Court recently gave a green signal to the clearing of the area on the condition that conservation measures for the Markhor will have to be taken by the state Government. Eventually, the government has agreed that five per cent of the project cost of the Mughal Road will be spent on the conservation of the Markhor goat.